- Matt Mills will make his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) debut behind the wheel of the No. 51 Silverado in Saturday’s Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway. Saturday’s start will be the first of a two-race deal with KBM that also will see him behind the wheel of the No. 51 at The Milwaukee Mile Speedway Aug. 27.
- J.F. Electric, an electrical contractor that’s in the business of creating connections, will be the primary sponsor adorning Mill’s Silverado for both events. Mills will also carry associate sponsorship from Utilitra, a women-owned utility and technology solutions provider with a diverse team of specialized professionals, and Thompson Electric, a full-service electrical contracting company, for his two-race schedule.
- The 26-year-old driver, who was born two hours from Richmond in Lynchburg, Va., has made 20 career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series including five this season. He registered a season-best 19th-place finish in the Truck Series’ event at World Wide Technology Raceway in June. He produced a career-best starting position of fourth at Michigan International Speedway in 2018 and a career-best 15th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2022.
- In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, the Virginia native has made 121 career starts with a best result of 10th coming at Daytona International Speedway in 2019. He also made one NASCAR Cup Series start at Kansas Speedway in 2021. Mills has made seven Xfinity Series starts at Richmond, registering a track-best 13th-place finish twice. He has not competed in a Truck Series race at Richmond.
- KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch, who claimed KBM’s first-ever Truck Series victory at Nashville Superspeedway in April of 2010, collected his organization’s 100th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory last Saturday at Pocono in the No. 51 Silverado. The No. 51 team currently ranks seventh in the Craftsman Truck Series owner’s point standings. Across 16 starts in 2023, the team has recorded two wins, one pole, 170 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.2. Entering the final race of the regular season, they sit 62 points above the cutoff line for making the owner’s playoffs without a new winner this week and 50 points above the cutoff line if there is a new owner winner this week.
- Veteran crew chief Brian Pattie is calling the shots for the No. 51 team this year in his first season at KBM after spending the last 14 seasons atop the pit box in the NASCAR Cup Series. In the Cup Series, his drivers produced six wins, nine poles, 57 top-five and 131 top-10 finishes across 528 starts. In 2012, he guided Clint Bowyer to three victories and a runner-up finish in the Cup Series championship standings. In 2017, he guided Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to two wins and a berth in the playoffs. The Florida native has also recorded 11 wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and now has two wins as a crew chief in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Saturday will be Pattie’s first time calling a Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway. He won the 2012 September Cup Series race at Richmond with Bowyer.
- Jack Wood will return to the No. 51 Chevrolet Aug. 11 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
What do you think the differences between driving an Xfinity car and a truck will be at Richmond?
“In the truck I feel like I’ll be able to be a tad more aggressive off the corners. In the Xfinity car, being able to feather the throttle off the corners kind of fits my driving style not having to be so aggressive and attacking every lap. Hopefully, the style of driving the Xfinity car will be able to transfer over to the truck. I think you’ll have to be a little bit more aggressive with the truck but still feel like you have an egg under the throttle and make sure that you take care of your tires. It’s usually a race where you have to be smooth throughout the race and be there at the end.”
Have you set any goals for this weekend?
“The way I look at it is I want to prove that I’m not wasting this opportunity. A top 10 would be good, top five would be great and if I’m able to win it would be a dream come true. Really, this is going to be a learning curve for me. It’s going to be a great experience and kind of open up my eyes to the sport and see how the upper echelon teams operate. I feel like I need to go out there and not make a fool of myself, gain respect and take everything that I learn this weekend at Richmond and go out and be even better when we show up at Milwaukee.”